Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2010 Southern Regional at the Georgia Dome

They've hooked up for some compelling post-season basketball and baseball games, so why not get the tackle football teams into the act?

Six months after Ty Lawson came off the bench in the closing minutes of the second round of the NCAA tournament to bring UNC back from elimination at the hands of LSU, the Tar Heels and Bayou Bengals have mercifully ended weeks of speculation by agreeing to open the 2010 season in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A kickoff game in the Georgia Dome. Apparently, Big Chicken has decided to continue its twice-annual SEC-ACC snuff film -- only this time, the Fighting Sabans get to stay home. Butch Davis' resurgent(?) Tar Heels follow in the footsteps of Clemson and Virginia Tech, trying to do that which the ACC (and Ohio State) has thus far been unable.

It stands to be an uncharacteristically robust out-of-conference challenge for the Heels (who don't stand to gain all that much with respect to recruitment because they play biennially at Georgia Tech). LSU, meanwhile, adds the likely (possibly... hopefully...?) nationally-ranked Tar Heels to an out-of-conference schedule that already includes West Virginia. It seems like Les Miles and Joe Alleva already remember how playing (and beating, unmercifully) Virginia Tech in 2007 (as opposed to adding a creampuff to an out-of-conference slate that typically includes Tulane, North Texas and one or more "directional-Louisiana" schools) pushed them above the end-of-season morass and into the title game in the Superdome.

It's a good start. Every little bit helps the SEC shed its reputation as the Mark Mangino* of out-of-conference schedulers. Every Tiger fan also knows it's just window dressing until a rematch with the Trojans takes place.

*Cupcakes. I'm talking about cupcakes. Until our audience expands beyond spouses and each other, I feel like analogies need to be trampled with explanation.


  1. So this is the match-up the World Wide Leader got when Auburn pussed out of playing UCLA?

  2. Good question. UNC had to defer the Gamecocks in order to accommodate. For LSU, it spells the end of the Tulane rivalry (again).